Beginning the Honors Program, the competency of global citizenship was the most foreign to me at the time. Aside from attending diversity events, I was unsure of ways to grow as a global citizen especially in terms of my elementary education discipline area. As I moved forward into different honors courses and the upper-level courses of my major, my understanding and development of global citizenship greatly increased. Primarily my experiences in a variety of courses, research subjects and travels have influenced my growth in global citizenship.

In the fall of 2013 I took a Spanish 210W course. Prior to taking this course, I had four years of Spanish in high school that allowed me to enter into this course as a freshman. My experience with learning Spanish has allowed me to grow in communication through learning a second language.  My four and a half years of Spanish classes have shown me the cultural differences in verbal and nonverbal communication. This course, in particular had an emphasis on writing in Spanish. This has greatly improved my competency as a global citizen by helping me to learn Spanish in the different domains of speaking, listening, reading and writing. This class provided opportunities to increase my practice with the language by writing essays and engaging in Spanish conversations via discussion posts and online chats. My essays I wrote reflect a variety of issues relating to the language and culture. For instance, I wrote about taking a stance on environmental issues such as globalization from a cultural perspective.  Overall, I came out of the class with a more profound understanding of cultural differences in verbal and nonverbal communication as well as the complexity of the Spanish culture.

In the Spring 2014, I took a diversity course called Human Relations in a Multicultural Society class. The class started by looking at our own culture and examining the cultures we are unaware of. In addition to emerging growth in self-awareness, this class provided many opportunities to grow and develop in knowledge and understanding of other cultures. I started by demonstrating my understanding of other cultures by encountering other cultures through brief events. For class, we were asked to attend different diversity nights to begin to immerse ourselves in cultures other than our own. I attended Latino Night and the American Indian Student Association Night. I moved into a deeper interaction with culturally different others through completing and reflecting on 18 hours of service learning with the American Indian Student Association. This involved attending a Pow-wow at Augsburg College and speaking with students about their ethnic background.  Throughout the semester, I also increased my growth in my ability to ask questions about other cultures through our cultural partners. I was partners with a male who comes from a German family and an international female from Turkmenistan. Our conversations over the semester allowed me to have an extended period of interaction with culturally different others. In our conversations we had to plan out intentional questions and be able to articulate answers about our own cultures. Our first few conversations asked very simple and surface level questions. I noticed as the year went on we asked deeper complex questions in our cultural partnership conversations as well as in our own daily conversations. Finally, we had the opportunity to Skype with a college class in Russia. Through our class sessions I learned about the different values we had in comparison to the Russian class. I learned how to suspend my judgment about how the class in Russia was run and instead value our interaction to learn about a different education system and culture through our interactions.

I am currently taking a course on Teaching ELLs in a Mainstream Classroom. We have engaged in different texts relating to research-based practices to use in the classroom to help make education accessible for our English Language Learners. This course has helped me to delve deep into my self-awareness of my own culture. Our first major project was creating a cultural autobiography that helped me in my self-awareness. I examined my language practices, dialects and culture. I also looked at how and when these practices were acquired. Furthermore, I wrote about how my cultural practices shaped my own values, prejudices, biases and habits of mind. I articulated what privileges and non-privileges my cultural background has given me. I pulled my entire paper together by justifying the importance of being aware of my own cultural background as I prepare to teach other students and enter into a globally diverse world. By the end of the course I will have written my own philosophy on ELL practices in the classroom. 

As I progress in knowledge and understanding of culturally different others, I ham working towards continually seeking out opportunities to interact with different cultures. This past summer I took a pilgrimage trip to Italy. This was my second time traveling to Italy, and served as another opportunity to immerse myself in the Italian as well as Catholic culture. The beautiful thing about traveling to the very heart of the Catholic faith is uniting with people from all over the world by our beliefs. One night, for instance, our group was singing praise and worship songs at St. Peter's Basilica. As the night went on, many other people from all over the world joined us. I sang with a family from Austria, a nun from Brazil, and a couple from France to name a few. In this moment, there was no judgment or comparisons of culture, but only uniting in our love for each other and God. We sang Amazing Grace and many of the people were familiar with the song and began to sing it in their own language. It was a powerful experience that created a hunger for even more travel in my future.

My two research projects that I did were surrounded around the topic of cultural competence. Both of my research projects gave me an opportunity to ask specific complex questions about other cultures and then articulate my findings/answers in the form of a presentation. The first one I did asked the question, "What are the baseline scores of all the students who are entering the EEC22W course?" We were able to see the different demographics of students from the past four years to see if score had any relation to past experiences. We looked at factors such as age, years in school, international student, discipline area, gender, ethnicity, and travel experience. We measured the students' cultural competence using the IDI test and scale.

My second research project ended up being a case study on culturally responsive teaching strategies. We looked at the professors in our education department to see if they were effectively using these strategies in their own practices and thus enabling pre-service teachers to go into their future classrooms using culturally responsive teaching strategies. Our case study made us realize how different CRT looks to each teacher. I used literature reviews, video, checklists and interviews with educators to gain information about the subject.